Letters, We Get Mail, CDXXI



[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters421.html#BSM ]

Date: Tue, 2 Dec 2014 14:21:23 -0800    (answered 29 December 2014)
From: BSM
To: [email protected]
Subject: A.A. a cult? To what end? ...

Orange —

I am disturbed at the venom you use to describe A.A. I have been to many A.A. meetings. I have not really worked the 12-step program in earnest, actually, but have made many honest and true friendships that have lasted through A.A., and I have developed a spiritual life from my association with the rooms that is uniquely my own and of enormous value to me. Oh, and I have conquered my drinking problem — and it was a real problem that almost cost my marriage and career — and have been sober for 8 years. Life is not perfect (is it ever?), but it's pretty darned good.

I still go to A.A. off and on, mainly in honesty for the camaraderie though, I must say, just hearing others' honest experiences of how they dealt with alcohol — confronting their fears, sharing honestly what they consider to be things they can improve about themselves — without recrimination from anyone — and relying upon themselves and an understanding of their own higher spirituality/power/god, however you wish to name it, to assist that effort; selflessly offering service to others on their own terms (not A.A.'s) if they so desire, or not offering any service whatsoever — equally accepted by every A.A. group I've ever been to — I don't see the harm and I definitely have seen the benefits in my own life and many others.

This is not to say that I could not have found a working spiritual life without AA — but I didn't until I started attending. It is not to say I could stop abusing alcohol without the support and friendships and honest relationships I formed from other A.A. members — but I didn't until I made those. It is not to say that many haven't tried A.A. and failed — surely many have; but also many people who go to A.A. meetings with some regularity have decades of sobriety and lead happy, contented lives. We can quibble about the long-term 'cure' rates and percentages of A.A. and any other recovery program on earth but, at the end of the day, all are just quess-timates and are a mixed bag of many who recover, many who don't — and yes, including those who do it all on their own as you mention repeatedly but the statistical support of which is probably most difficult of all to reliably quantify.

Further, I ask if A.A. is this onerous cult you describe, to what end? Is it to make money? Surely and unequivocally not. While Bill W. may or may not have unduly enriched himself at A.A.'s founding, and I am in no position to reliably judge and would question any who might unless they could provide bank statements or other documentary evidence to corroborate such enrichment — All and I mean All A.A. meetings I have ever encountered — and this is over approximately a decade of time — are merely self sufficient through very modest contributions by modest membership. I myself have never voluntarily donated more than $1 to attend a meeting; many times have donated nothing; have never been asked to give money other than voluntary donation; and have known literally dozens of meeting treasurers and can unequivocally attest that A.A. meetings/groups do not make any money whatsoever other than what is necessary to pay for the room and serve coffee. Nobody gets rich off of A.A.

And while it is certainly true that, as of any large organization that basically accepts virtually anyone — the only barrier to entry to A.A. is a 'willingness to stop drinking' — some individual members will prey upon others to obtain ego satisfaction, sexual satisfaction, financial satisfaction, etc. — in my experience that is extremely rare. Yet, on the flipside, in regards to relationships, I know many happily married (and unmarried) couples with decades together who met in A.A., both those who continue to attend and who do not. I know many more who themselves have significantly enriched their own personal financial circumstances which they attribute to living the principles espoused in A.A. Do abuses happen? Of course they do, as they would in any worldwide association with millions of members; but to assert the organization is systemically a 'cult' is not supported by any evidence I have seen in 10 years — all are free to come and go as they wish, and often do; none are required to perform anything or pay anything to attend, unless they wish.

A 'cult' is very different thing — personal choice and subservience to the group is inevitably required, often accompanied by extreme demands upon members such as giving up large sums of money or property to the group; giving up one's spouse or children to group leaders, giving extraordinary hours of service or labor to the group, etc. Examples immediately which come to mind include Branch Dividians/Waco; Jim Jones/Jonestown; Rajneesh/Oregon commune; countless survivalist/militias across North America, etc.

To suggest that A.A. be classified as a religious 'cult' such as these is simply not supported by ANY credible evidence and I can personally attest that any claims that A.A. abuses its members in any kind of systemic manner are ludicrous. I have found sobriety, inner-peace, absolutely no self-loathing, guilt or shame; transparency and honesty in my personal relationships, both family and friends, and overall happiness. Attendance at A.A. enormously helped me to achieve it — I'm not sure I could have or would have without A.A. — but I did it, I know that — and nobody I know in A.A. would assert they nor anyone other than me did it. In the process, nobody got hurt, nobody got abused, nobody did or required anything he/she/they did not want to do or require, and all is basically well.

My message to you, Orange, is that while A.A. is certainly not the be all end all — nothing is; and it far from works for everyone — nothing does; it *does* in fact help many people who otherwise up until the time they began working with A.A. had not been able to successfully manage their drinking and their lives. In other words — it does do good for many. This is anecdotally and unequivocally true.

I hope you would remember that in future writings and would consider refraining from categorizing it, as you have heretofore, as a wholly ineffective evil cult that abuses and preys upon its members to achieve something for itself or its long-time members at other members' expense. I would hope you acknowledge that for some — even many — it actually is helpful in achieving greatly beneficial results.

Very best, BSM

Hello BSM,

Thank you for the letter and the opinion. Congratulations for quitting drinking and staying sober for eight years, and doing it without even bothering to work the Steps.

Alas, there is a lot of Minimization and Denial in your letter. You claim that A.A. is okay because you haven't seen any people abused in your group. That is the logical fallacy of "I Didn't See It Happen, So It Never Happened". Many other people saw it happen. Check out the list of A.A. Horror Stories.

You never did the A.A. 12 Steps or the A.A. "Program", you just use A.A. as a social club.

"Spirituality" is so ill-defined that it is pointless to even try to argue about whether you found it in A.A. I could with equal credibility say that I found spirituality by living on a hippie commune and taking LSD. (Incidentally, that's how Bill W. found it too — by taking LSD, that is.)

Not judging Bill W. is just a dodge. That is merely avoiding the issue of whether the Founder of A.A. was a criminal and a creep.

This is not true, it's just more Minimization and Denial:

We can quibble about the long-term 'cure' rates and percentages of A.A. and any other recovery program on earth but, at the end of the day, all are just quess-timates and are a mixed bag of many who recover, many who don't — and yes, including those who do it all on their own as you mention repeatedly but the statistical support of which is probably most difficult of all to reliably quantify.

The statistical support has most assuredly been reliably quantified:

The NIAAA's (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism) 2001-2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions interviewed over 43,000 people. Using the criteria for alcohol dependence — that is, alcohol addiction — found in the DSM-IV, they found:

      "About 75 percent of persons who recover from alcohol dependence do so without seeking any kind of help, including specialty alcohol (rehab) programs and AA. Only 13 percent of people with alcohol dependence ever receive specialty alcohol treatment."

About half of all alcoholics eventually quit drinking and save their own lives, and 75% of them do it alone, without any A.A. or other "treatment" or "support group", or any kind of help. The Harvard Mental Health Letter, from The Harvard Medical School, stated quite plainly:

On their own
There is a high rate of recovery among alcoholics and addicts, treated and untreated. According to one estimate, heroin addicts break the habit in an average of 11 years. Another estimate is that at least 50% of alcoholics eventually free themselves although only 10% are ever treated. One recent study found that 80% of all alcoholics who recover for a year or more do so on their own, some after being unsuccessfully treated. When a group of these self-treated alcoholics was interviewed, 57% said they simply decided that alcohol was bad for them. Twenty-nine percent said health problems, frightening experiences, accidents, or blackouts persuaded them to quit. Others used such phrases as "Things were building up" or "I was sick and tired of it." Support from a husband or wife was important in sustaining the resolution.
Treatment of Drug Abuse and Addiction — Part III, The Harvard Mental Health Letter, Volume 12, Number 4, October 1995, page 3.
(See Aug. (Part I), Sept. (Part II), Oct. 1995 (Part III).)

So much for the sayings that "Everybody needs a support group" and "Nobody can do it alone". Most successful people do.

Even a Trustee of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., said that. Dr. George E. Vaillant tracked his first 100 A.A.-treated alcoholic patients, and at the end of 8 years, the score was 5 continuously sober, 29 dead, and 66 still drinking. Dr. Vaillant clearly recognized that 5 per hundred was the same recovery rate as alcoholics get when they quit on their own — what he called "natural remission", or the "natural history of the disease". Vaillant said,

After initial discharge, only five patients in the [A.A.-treated] Clinic sample never relapsed to alcoholic drinking, and there is compelling evidence that the results of our treatment were no better than the natural history of the disease.
...
Not only had we failed to alter the natural history of alcoholism, but our death rate of three percent a year was appalling.
The Natural History of Alcoholism: Causes, Patterns, and Paths to Recovery, George E. Vaillant, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1983, pages 283-286.
The same text was reprinted in Vaillant's later book, The Natural History of Alcoholism Revisited, George E. Vaillant, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1995, pages 349-352.

So the people who went to A.A. did not recover any better than people who quit alone, without any such help. But they died more. Nothing had a higher death rate than the A.A. program. Teaching people that they are powerless over alcohol seems to be a very deadly self-fulfilling prophesy. (Dr. Jeffrey Brandsma found that A.A. increased binge drinking.)

Now those numbers are not conjecture or uncertain. They come from carefully counting heads and seeing who recovered, and who is still drinking, and who died.

A.A. is most assuredly a cult, and it is not vague or ill-defined. Read The Cult Test, and Alcoholics Anonymous as a Cult, both the questions and the answers. It's explained in detail.

You said,

A 'cult' is very different thing — personal choice and subservience to the group is inevitably required, often accompanied by extreme demands upon members such as giving up large sums of money or property to the group; giving up one's spouse or children to group leaders, giving extraordinary hours of service or labor to the group, etc. Examples immediately which come to mind include Branch Dividians/Waco; Jim Jones/Jonestown; Rajneesh/Oregon commune; countless survivalist/militias across North America, etc.

Yes. You can start with demands that people give up their wives or husbands, or worse, their children. There are many stories of that in the A.A. Horror Stories:

And that is just the tip of the iceberg. The Horror Stories are also loaded with stories of financial exploitation, and slavery, and abuse, and brainwashing. You should read all of them before declaring that "it" isn't happening in A.A.

Then you asked,

Further, I ask if A.A. is this onerous cult you describe, to what end? Is it to make money? Surely and unequivocally not.

Actually, for some people, it is to make money. The leader of A.A. gets a cool quarter of a million dollars per year, and the previous leader Greg Muth embezzled even more.

We have discussed the A.A. finances and official filings here:

Then there are a whole lot of other reasons for people staying in A.A. Different personality types want different things from the cult, We were just discussing them in a previous letter:

  • The Big Frog oldtimers are self-important big frogs in a small pond.

  • Also see "Soberman's" essay on "Big Bills and Little Bills" for more on the authoritative oldtimers, here:

  • And then there are the 'Fraidy Cats who fear that they will die if they leave A.A.

  • There are the True Believers, who are sure that they are favored by God and they have a Guaranteed Ticket To Heaven.

  • Then there are the Socialites, for whom A.A. is a social circle.

  • Then there are the Fundamentalists, who are sure that the world will be saved if only everyone will obey every word of the Big Book.

  • Then there are the Predators, who get sex or money or slaves out of it.

  • And then there are sincere people who really want to get sober, and they have been misinformed and lied to and told that A.A. RARELY fails.

You should read the whole letter here: http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters420.html#JJ.

You also rationalized:

And while it is certainly true that, as of any large organization that basically accepts virtually anyone — the only barrier to entry to A.A. is a 'willingness to stop drinking' — some individual members will prey upon others to obtain ego satisfaction, sexual satisfaction, financial satisfaction, etc. — in my experience that is extremely rare.

The fact that you can find any kind of criminal in A.A. is a big problem, actually a fatal drawback. to go to A.A. meetings by a judge. In A.A., she met the criminal who murdered her. Obviously, we need to stop judges from sentencing people to A.A. And we need to warn people about the kinds of dangerous criminals whom they will find at their friendly neighborhood A.A. meeting.

Then you finished by saying:

I hope you would remember that in future writings and would consider refraining from categorizing it, as you have heretofore, as a wholly ineffective evil cult that abuses and preys upon its members to achieve something for itself or its long-time members at other members' expense. I would hope you acknowledge that for some — even many — it actually is helpful in achieving greatly beneficial results.

No, A.A. is not beneficial. A.A. produces a zero-percent improvement in the sobriety rate, while increasing the death rate in alcoholics. And those numbers came from a doctor who loves A.A. and who went on the become a member of the Board of Trustees of A.A. — Dr. and Prof. George E. Vaillant.

A.A. also raises the rate of binge drinking, raises the rate of rearrests, and increases the costs of hospitalization. That is not beneficial.

In addition,

  1. Sponsors do great harm by telling their new sponsees not to take their medications.
  2. The historical A.A. success rate was never any good.
  3. A.A. has a really bad sexual abuse rate.
  4. A.A. increases the suicide rate.
  5. A.A. increases the divorce rate.

That is not beneficial.

If you think that A.A. is beneficial, please answer this one simple question:

What is the REAL A.A. success rate?

Out of each 1000 newcomers to A.A., how many will pick up a one-year sobriety medallion a year later?
Or even several years later?
And how many will get their 2-year, and 5-year, and 10-year coins? Ever?
How about 11 years and 21 years?

No qualifiers are allowed, like, "We will only count the people who worked the program right, or we will only count the people who really tried, and kept coming back." Everybody counts. No exceptions.

No excuses are allowed. When the doctor gives a patient penicillin, and it fails to cure the infection, the doctor doesn't get to say, "But he didn't work the program right. He didn't pray enough. He didn't surrender. He held something back in his Fifth Step." No excuses.

So what's the actual A.A. cure rate?

HINT: the answers are here and here and here.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*
**    "Not only had we failed to alter the natural history of alcoholism,
**    but our death rate of three percent a year was appalling."
**      ==  Dr. George E. Vaillant, formerly a member of the A.A. Board of
**    Trustees, describing the treatment of alcoholism with Alcoholics
**    Anonymous, in "The Natural History of Alcoholism: Causes, Patterns,
**    and Paths to Recovery", Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA,
**    1983, pages 283-286.





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters421.html#James_B ]

Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2014 09:28:27 +0000     (answered 29 December 2014)
From: James B.
To: [email protected]
Subject: thank you

AO,

I just wanted to say thank you.

I read your pages, devoured them, about five years ago. I just could not stop reading.

I thought my life consisted of two miserable inevitabilities: drink and go mad/die; or a lifetime of AA meetings that were destroying my soul.

"Soul rape" is not too extreme a description of what happened to me in there. I found it very difficult to trust and like people after leaving AA, such was my sense of betrayal.

You are a true intellect — I am fairly well read and highly educated, but your intellect, clarity of thought, wit, is just something wonderful to behold. If this is your masterpiece, then you've achieved more than many, if not most, in regards intellectual endeavor.

You're a legend and don't you forget it.

Drink/drug/substance free for 10 years, meeting free for 5 years. Happy, content, peaceful and doing well.

James B

London

UK

Hello James,

Thank you for all of the compliments, but really, you're going to give me a fat head.

I'm really happy that you found a third way to live, besides suicide by bottle, or mental and spiritual suicide by cult. And congratulations on your ten years of sobriety. It really feels so much better, doesn't it?

You said, "You're a legend and don't forget it."
Actually, I had better forget it, or else I'll get caught up in an ego trip. If I think I'm a legend, then I have to worry about doing what legends are supposed to do. I'll have to constantly check myself and instead of doing what I want to do, I'll have to do what the legend image requires. It's a big trap.

No thanks. I'm going to forget all about the legend thing, and concentrate on being the guy who is supposed to feed the geese and take care of the orphaned goslings. I think that will be more fun.

So have a good day, and a good life now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     If a man love the labor of any trade, apart from any
**     question of success or fame, the Gods have called him.
**        ==  Robert Louis Stevenson





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters421.html#Agnes_C ]

Date: Tue, 9 Dec 2014 13:43:42 -0800     (answered 1 January 2015)
From: Agnes C. C.
To: [email protected]
Subject: approval

I honestly disapprove this kind of publicity due to fact I am a recovering alcoholic for 34 years and you are breaking AA's tradition of our anonymity . Stop publicizing stuff like this until you learn about our disease.. This you lady was a victim .
Sorry and compassion for the family .
Amen ...

Agnès C. C.

Hello Agnes,

You are confused about what anonymity means. Anonymity does not mean that we can't tell the truth about Alcoholics Anonymous and its many crimes. Anonymity just means that people don't publish your full name on the radio or TV, or in the press, and you don't publicize your full name as an A.A. member. I notice that you sent me your full legal name, which is itself a breach of anonymity.

Incidentally, I am not under any obligation to enforce or honor A.A. anonymity. If I give you anonymity, and don't publish your full name, it's just because I am being nice.

A.A. has no right to anonymity. That is just wishful thinking. Priests have legal rights and priestly obligations to keep confessions confidential, and lawyers have attorney-client privilege where they keep things between the lawyer and the client secret, but A.A. has no such rights or privileges. A.A. has no more right to anonymity than the gang of drinkers at the local sports bar. Any A.A. member can blab anything about another member, and they do. A.A. sponsors are notorious for spreading peoples' Fifth Step confessions all over town, often as revenge for someone quitting A.A. For example, see: "I am forced to have a 30yr AA veteran as my sober companion who has breached all confidentiality, not just mine but other members of the AA cult." The so-called A.A. "tradition of anonymity" is a myth.

The slogan that is repeated at the start of A.A. and N.A. meetings, "What is heard here, stays here," is just wishful thinking, not an actual rule.

Lastly, there is no "our disease". "Alcoholism" is not a "disease". Drinking too much alcohol is bad behavior, not a disease. We have been over that again, and again. and just recently, in this letter:
http://lucy.semisys.com/OP/orange-letters420.html#Drippy,
so I won't repeat the discussion again here.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Little secrets are commonly told again,
**      but great ones are generally kept.
**       ==  Lord Chesterfield, Letters to His Son, Sept. 13, 1748.





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters421.html#Roberto_T ]

Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2014 21:58:12 -0500     (answered 1 January 2015)
From: Roberto T.
To: <[email protected]>
Subject: your site

Hi Orange

I came across your site and though I cannot agree with everything you write about AA since it does work for some and even for some new comers in the beginning. I can agree with you that AA culture can be a bit cultish, though as a cult it would be an outright failure due to it's drop out and retention rate. As many in AA I am there as a new comer, and to satisfy my out patient rehab requirement to go to AA meetings. Therapy is helping me understand the root problem of my drinking and even helping me live a sober life. They take a more scientific approach and use clinically approve techniques to helping me and other patients. The frustrating part of these treatment centers is that they still rely on AA as a form of after care and for so called spiritual therapy. One of the things AA fails to do is to actually get to the root cause of drinking, they believe the that alcoholism can be manage through God, faith and spirituality. I find the faith this rehab centers put on AA to be misplace and nearly dangerous due to its low success rate. Before sending patients to AA they should first diagnose the patient to see if they could be a good fit for AA or another fellowship program. I also believe that AA can be a contributing cause to destroying marriages and relationships as they tell all new comers to put this "tried and true program" above everything else (this is an example of the cultish culture I agree with you). Thank you for publishing your website its is insightful and informative.

Roberto

Hello Roberto,

Thanks for the letter and the concerns. I have to agree. In fact, I think the situation is even worse than you have said.

Starting at the top, you assume that some people are helped by A.A., and somehow recover because of A.A. program. The evidence says otherwise. The medical tests of A.A. that have been done have shown that A.A. doesn't improve the sobriety rate of alcoholics at all, not even the least little bit. The truth is that some people just really want to quit drinking, because the pain of alcohol abuse has become too great, so they do. Then A.A. steals the credit for them, when the A.A. routine didn't actually do anything good for them.

Then you thought that A.A. would be a failure as a cult because of its high dropout rate. Nope, cults usually have a very high dropout rate. In the book The Making Of A Moonie: Brainwashing Or Choice?, Eileen Barker found that the actual recruiters' success rate is about 0.005% (page 147). Like most cults, the Moonies have a sky-high dropout rate, but it's still a hard-core cult.

I am glad to hear that you are getting some therapy that gets at the root causes of excessive drinking. A.A. never does that, and instead tells you ridiculous things like that you drink because you have resentments and unconfessed sins.

You are right that the treatment centers rely on quack treatment that doesn't work. Still, even today, 75% of the treatment centers in the USA use the 12-Step treatment. They might as well use leeches and blood-letting and witchcraft and exorcisms.

And yes, A.A. increases the divorce rate and breaks up relationships. It is downright routine for them to try to isolate their new recruits by destroying all relationships with non-A.A. people. A few examples:

Lastly, thanks for the thanks, and have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    The first and worst of all frauds is to cheat oneself.
**       ==  Philip James Bailey [1816 — 1902], Festus[1839].Proem, Anywhere





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters421.html#Indy ]

Date: Fri, 12 Dec 2014 09:33:05 -0000     (answered 1 January 2015)
From: "Indy Oskars"
To: <[email protected]>
Subject: "You've just entered the 12 $tep Zone !"

Since reading the Orange Papers Very Carefully for a long time.
Ev'rytime I put my foot over the threshold of AA I say to myself:
"You've just entered the 12 step zone !" (From "The Twilight Zone"
meaning you've stepped into something Weird).

Hi Indy,

Thanks for the laugh.

And have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The best proof that intelligent life exists in outer space
**     is that they have never tried to contact us.





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters421.html#Harrison ]

Date: Fri, 12 Dec 2014 12:28:18 -0600     (answered 1 January 2015)
From: Harrison
To: [email protected]
Subject: On the fence about AA

Hi,

I was hoping you I could talk to you. I'm back in the program, and there are things I like and things I don't. I'm a atheist, yet I have brushed all the dogmatic crap aside. I do have a conception of God, but it is both emotional support of other people and the fallacies of pop culture. Those are what I need to be my higher power. Maybe you could give me your opinion?

Thanks,

Harrison

Hello Harrison,

Thanks for the question. I hope you are doing well.

My reaction is, if you need emotional support from a group, okay. But A.A. won't let it go at that. You don't get to keep your higher power. The A.A. "higher power" is a bait-and-switch trick, where in the beginning you can define your higher power to be anything that makes sense to you, but in the end, they define God as an old-Testament tyrant who will kill you for the slightest infraction of His rules. They start off by saying that you can have any higher power, but then they work to convert you to belief in their higher power, who is a tyrannical meddling wish-granting, string-pulling, Old-Testament paternalistic dictator who will kill you unless you "seek and do His will" every day.

First, the story is:

Stress the spiritual feature freely. If the man be agnostic or atheist, make it emphatic that he does not have to agree with your conception of God. He can choose any conception he likes, provided it makes sense to him. The main thing is that he be willing to believe in a Power greater than himself and that he live by spiritual principles.
The Big Book, William G. Wilson, Chapter 7, Working With Others, page 93.

Of course that is nonsense.

  • Atheists, who do not believe in the existence of a God, don't have to agree with the recruiter's conception of God, but they must believe in a spiritual "Higher Power", which, by definition, atheists don't.
  • How could an atheist possibly have a "conception" of a God Who will deliver miracles on demand when by definition he does not believe in the existence of any such thing?
  • And the atheists certainly won't be willing to believe in what they don't believe, so Bill's "main thing" isn't going to work for them.

But then the story changes into "God is a murdering dictator":

"Then, too we have a dictatorship — and how! God constantly says to us, 'I trust you will find and do my will.' John Barleycorn, always at our elbow, says, 'If you don't conform, I'll kill you or drive you mad.' So we have all the advantages and more, of the modern dictatorship."
Bill Wilson, quoted by his secretary Nell Wing, in Grateful To Have Been There, page 22.

All of the advantages of a modern dictatorship? What advantages?

And was Bill Wilson referring to Adolf Hitler's modern dictatorship, or Joseph Stalin's modern dictatorship? And why should we want to live under either of them?

Bill Wilson continued:

In A.A. there is active still another form of association, a form of which the world is today in great doubt. It has its virtues, nevertheless, especially for us of Alcoholics Anonymous: I am speaking of dictatorship. In A.A. we have two dictators, and we profit and grow through both. One is John Barleycorn, who is never very far from the elbow of each of us. The other is the Father of Lights, who presides over all men. God is saying to us, "Learn my will and do it." And John Barleycorn is saying to each of us, "You had better do God's will or I will kill you!"
Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age William G. Wilson (1957), page 225.


(By the way, the Angel of Light is Lucifer.)

"Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world..."
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Working With Others, page 100.

Oh really?

Also see these bait-and-switch tricks:

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     A.A. is not a "self-help group", it's an
**     "elf-help group". You are supposed to pray
**     and beg that an invisible "Higher Power"
**     will solve all of your problems for you
**     and grant all of your wishes.
**     It sounds like Casper the Friendly Ghost,
**     The Jolly Green Leprechaun, and Santa's
**     Elves all qualify as a "Higher Power".





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters421.html#Zizi ]

Date: Fri, 28 Nov 2014 03:16:18 -0500     (answered 1 January 2015)
From: Zizi
Subject: Another little tidbit

If you are in the mood for something warped, then I have a fun little link for you.

Yes, this is a twelve-step housekeeping program. No, it is not a joke.

www.flylady.net

Browse the site and you will see what I mean. Be sure to have some Dramamine or Pepto-Bismol handy.

Sent from my iPad


Date: Sat, 13 Dec 2014 08:44:22 -0500     (answered 1 January 2015)
From: Zizi
Subject: Another email from Zizi

Hello Orange,

I have another treat for you, of sorts. I am very grateful to have found this site over a year ago, because it let me know that there is no real scientific evidence for the existence of codependency, or perhaps "the new female hysteria," as it might be better termed. Since then I have found some pretty interesting resources on the subject, and this is one of them. It is a three-part PBS "Frontline" documentary filmed in the 1990s, and although the first half of the film deals chiefly with the repressed-memory/satanic ritual abuse controversy, the second half of the second video and most of the third video deal with the way in which this moral panic dovetailed into the recovery movement, particularly the codependency fad. Watch the segments on the Genesis Associates therapy practice carefully.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL7e9NbQKNNupvuMLbrfdJwgOXPLAj5cxh

Well, okay, that's not really three parts, that's one hour-long film chopped up into three segments to suit YouTube, and then sewn back together to form a playlist, but who cares.

"They knew that if they took away our mothers and our fathers and our husbands and our wives and our children, that we would become children ourselves. They knew that. And I think that's brilliant."

Do you think that sums up the raison d'être of the codependency movement, and explains its popularity amongst therapists? From what I have learned, including things I have learned from your site, that seems to be the case. To me, it seems like the therapists, not the maligned patients, who fit the idea of codependency — needing to be needed, keeping people sick or emotionally crippled in order to feed their egos, exercising controlling behavior while pretending to care deeply. I think the lunatics are running the asylums, and projecting and displacing their warped mindsets onto the people who believe them to be truly well-intentioned.

Watch and learn. It is an eye-opener, and it is a shame that this doc was never uploaded to the PBS website.

Best,
Zizi

Sent from my iPad

Yes, Zizi, you are quite correct. The demented inmates are running the insane asylum.

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     A flawed idea that AA is built upon:  The idea that a deeply flawed person
**     will cure another deeply flawed person.  A dynamic fraught with peril.
**       ==  Anonymous

P.S.
Oh, and while we're hacking away at codependency, there's this.
http://passerine.dreamwidth.org/5571.html

And this.
http://narc-attack.blogspot.com/2008/03/does-codependency-therapy-help-or-hurt.html

Best,
Zizi
Sent from my iPad





BLOG NOTE: 2015.01.02: SILLY LAW OF THE DAY:

New York State has passed a law against taking selfy photographs of yourself with a lion or tiger. Talk about silly, unneeded laws. Obviously, such selfies are a good thing. Those people are nominating themselves for Darwin Awards. People who are so brain-damaged that they cannot think things through to their logical consequences really should be removed from the gene pool.

Those New York State legislators who passed the law should also be removed from the gene pool, or at least from office. They don't fix the economy or poverty or racism or poor education or crumbling infrastructure, they just pass a law against photographing yourself with a big cat. Duh... Where are the crocodiles when you need one?





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters421.html#Zizi ]

Date: Sat, 3 Jan 2015 05:41:42 -0500     (answered 7 January 2015.)
From: Zizi
To: "[email protected]"
Subject: Off-topic — the "tiger selfie" law

Hello Orange,

I noticed that in a little tidbit about "dumb laws" in the letters section you complained about New York's ban on "tiger selfies" being a waste of time and resources. I respectfully disagree. The life of a lion or tiger held captive in a circus or menagerie and farmed out for idiotic photo ops (accredited zoos are generally not into this sort of thing) looks like this:

http://tigers.worldanimalprotection.org

And this:
http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/exposed-thailands-tiger-kingdom-sanctuary-or-sham/

And this:
http://matadornetwork.com/change/7-reasons-think-twice-visiting-thailands-tiger-temple/

Yes, a lot of these selfies seem to be taken abroad. But roadside zoos and traveling circuses exist here in the US too, and they can be just as cruel. To me, the "tiger selfie" ban has more to do with taking a step towards protecting these majestic cats than protecting morons. You yourself wrote on your Harry Tiebout page, "And apparently, Dr. Tiebout had never heard about breaking wild horses or wild elephants. Both wild horses and wild elephants are broken by torturing them until they surrender." That is exactly what happens to big cats in circuses and menageries as well. They are physically exploited and psychologically crushed, living out their lives in bondage, just like people who get railroaded into a cult.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope maybe you will see things a bit differently now.

Best,
Zizi

Hello Zizi,

Thank you for the letter and the links. And thank you for caring about those magnificent tigers. I do too. I was saddened to see how those tigers were being treated in Thailand.

And it isn't just tigers. Years ago, I saw elephants in a small mom-and-pop circus that stank unbearably because they had not had a bath in months. The least the circus could have done was take them to a car wash now and then. Or take them to someone's house and connect a garden hose to the kitchen sink and wash them down with warm water. But no. That wasn't done. The elephants were left stinking in their own sweat and urine. And apparently there wasn't a law against that.

I still maintain, though, that the New York law is silly and wrong.

The civil rights movement had a great slogan: KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE PRIZE.
Likewise, the Olympics gave us: GO FOR THE GOLD.

If the goal is to stop animal abuse, then outlaw animal abuse and punish it harshly. And I'm all for that. Go directly for the goal. Don't pussy-foot around by nibbling at the edge of the problem. Approaching the problem tangentially, like "Let's just outlaw taking pictures with a tiger," does little or nothing to stop the animal abuse. It doesn't stop the animals from being kept in too small of a space. It doesn't prevent the animals from being shown as curiosities or trophies all day long. It doesn't give the animals a healthy environment. It just outlaws taking pictures. Keep your eyes on the prize.

Plus, the real problem is not people taking pictures. The real problem is animal abuse.

If the goal of the New York legislature was to stop animal abuse, then that is a classic example of bad law-making. Instead of outlawing the actual crime that we want to prevent, they outlawed a side trip like posing for pictures.

Personally, I think it would be fitting punishment if the animal abusers posed for a picture with a tiger, and the selfy showed the abuser getting his neck snapped by an angry tiger. Now that would be a picture to post on Facebook and Twitter. Then the tiger could get off on a plea of self-defense.

Okay, that's wishful thinking, but still...

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*
**     "The thinking man must oppose all cruel customs no matter how
**     deeply rooted in tradition or surrounded by a halo. We need a
**     boundless ethic which will include the animals also."
**        ==  Albert Schweitzer, physician/Nobel Laureate.
*
**     The animals of the world exist for their own reasons.
**     They were not made for humans any more than black people
**     were made for white, or women created for men.
**       ==  Alice Walker
*
**     We have enslaved the rest of the animal creation, and have treated
**     our distant cousins in fur and feathers so badly that beyond doubt,
**     if they were able to formulate a religion, they would depict the
**     Devil in human form.
**       ==   William Ralph Inge
*
**     Until we extend our circle of compassion to all living things,
**     humanity will not find peace.  Think occasionally of the suffering
**     of which you spare yourself the sight.
**       ==  Albert Schweitzer
*
**     A hundred years from now, it will not matter the sort of house
**     I lived in, what my bank account was, or the car I drove...
**     But the world may be different because I was important in the
**     life of animals and the creatures on this earth.
**       ==  Author Unknown





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Last updated 17 December 2015.
The most recent version of this file can be found at http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters421.html